New Arrival

There's a new arrival in my studio. An alien. He didn't arrive in anything so primitive as a space ship, being much more evolved than that. In fact, he kind of evolved from house hold items like paper and card. He has soft drink bottle eyes.

He doesn't say much...perhaps it's difficult when your mouth is painted on?

His brain is crumpled newspaper so were he to speak he'd probably verbalise the newsprint in his head. Hopefully not the fashion pages or the sports section.

I'm sure he has plenty he wants to tell you but for now we're just learning to communicate. There's an alien in my studio. A welcome new arrival.

The Lawnmower and I.

I was going to call this article 'Me and the Lawnmower' however, apparently, it is grammatically incorrect to put yourself first. Were it not for grammar I would certainly not put the lawnmower first. Let me tell you about the lawnmower...

Our family owns a second hand lawnmower that we bought so we could cut our own lawns (obvious really...I mean what else do you use a lawnmower for?). The lawnmower and I have a love-hate relationship. I hate the lawnmower and it loves to plot ways to make me hate it even more every time I use it.

Typically, at first, it was fantastic. Started easily and did the job no problems. It was only once it became difficult to start that the wheels started to fall off. Well, not so much fall off, as split in half. Our lawnmower has half a back wheel. It's still a full circle but imagine that sliced in two like slicing off a piece of met worst or cucumber.

After that it was never the same. Every time I wheeled it out to mow the lawn it was a battle to get the thing started. Go through the routine...clean the spark plug, clean the air filter, try to get the accelerator in just the right spot, pull the rip cord, not hard enough, pull it again...oh it started...then it died, try again, oh it's going...looks like it's going to work. Cool.

Then, one time, when all that wouldn't work, I had the bright idea to start adjusting the fuel screw on the carborator. What a mistake that was. Each time I thought I had it adjusted to just the right spot (read the lawnmower started) the next time I used it, no way was it going to start on that adjustment again. It took many, many adjustments to get that screw in just the right position so that I will never mess with the thing again because it seems to work most times. Back to previous paragraph for how to get the lawnmower going.

The last time I tried to start it, the mower had a new plan - straight out of left field. Second pull of the rip cord and it broke. The rip cord that is. Crap. How am I supposed to start it without a rip cord?

Proceed to remove and pull apart the rip cord housing. Fortunately there was enough of the rip cord left to just re thread it and put it all back together but needless to say the cord is much shorter now. Got to keep that in mind each time you pull it because if you expect a long pull and only get a short one you can do yourself serious injury to your shoulder (there's something decidedly smutty about that last sentence but I'm not going to make that connection for you - I'm talking about the lawnmower!).

So that's my article about my Lawnmower. It doesn't really deserve this minor fame and brief spot in the lime light but at least those of you with pretentious lawnmowers will know that you're not alone.

Maybe there's a support group?

Net Neutrality - why you should care...

Have you heard the term 'Net Neutrality' and wondered what all the fuss is about? This documentary by four eyed monsters explains it in everyday language and draws parallels with newspaper and radio for how the every day person lost access to open, mass media communication in those mediums.

Essentially it's about Phone companies in the USA wanting to control the Internet through charging for different types of media as it is uploaded and/or downloaded to and from the net. For example it might cost you an additional fee to upload a video file to share with your friends. Currently you can upload as many videos as you like for whatever it costs you to be connected to the Internet but think of this cost for uploading each video file as an additional cost to being connected. These additional costs could be applied to all manner of files from email, pdf files, mp3 songs etc. etc.

Remember how it's said that it costs virtually nothing to send an email? Potentially the phone companies could make you buy virtual stamps for every email you send. That might slow down the spammers but if you look at the real world postal service...it hasn't stopped the over supply of junk mail. There's always someone who can afford to send junkmail.

What the phone companies want will reduce your ability to broadcast and communicate on a level playing field with big corporations because you'll be priced out of the market. Why is that good for big corporations? Well they'll no longer have to compete with people like me, making no budget content that's only watched by a minority of people who don't return enough income to pay for my lunch...forget about paying for my living expenses.

The Corporations will get to feed you a selection of media based on market research, focus groups, cross sections and results that indicate which media is going to be the most profitable...there by killing minority media. Sound familiar? It should... that's what Television is. If you actually enjoy what I do...you won't see it again until I find a way to go main stream and be financially viable or can get a look in on a community broadcasting network. How likely is that?

You might think this is only an issue for the USA but you'd be wrong. If the phone companies get their way in the States how long will it be before your communication provider and government wants a piece of the action? The whole war on net neutrality needs to be fought and won in the USA. If they lose to the phone companies there then it will be next to impossible to stop the transformation of the Internet as we know it to a closed media platform.

Net Neutrality is the online issue for 2007. Keep yourself informed and don't support those who would take it away from you and I.

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